This article appears in the latest spring issue of Connections.
The day had come. It was finally time. I had managed to get myself and my toddler up, showered, dressed and fed. Our bag was packed, stuff gathered by the door and ready to go.
Today was the day I was going to MOPS.
For weeks I had been hearing about how much fun my friends were having and it was finally my turn. We loaded up the car and headed out. When I arrived, several other moms were pulling in and beginning the arduous task of unpacking our kids’ “stuff” for the morning. As I approached the building, there was an older mom waiting to greet me. She hugged me and pointed me to where my daughter would be cared for. After getting my daughter settled, I walked into the room where I met another mom who hugged me and said she was glad to see me. She acted like I was her best friend even though we had just met. She pointed me to food that I didn’t have to prepare and a place to sit. I let out a big sigh. I belonged here.
All morning I felt like they had planned things just for me. It was a space where other moms and I could talk, laugh, learn and discover what it meant to be a wife, mom and friend. This meeting space became a place to dig in to mothering and ask questions of moms who were further along on the journey.
MOPS meetings create space for moms to connect and talk about relevant issues unique to their season of mothering. While the space you meet in should be friendly and inviting, what you do while you are in that space is what helps move a mom from overwhelmed to encouraged, from loneliness to belonging, from wondering to knowing. We give moms an opportunity to set aside intentional time for themselves to uncover what they need, learn something new about themselves or rediscover a dream or idea they’d set aside when their children arrived.
All the things we do as Leaders invite moms into this discovery; this experience with each other and themselves. It is what makes each mom’s experience with MOPS deeply personal and meaningful.
The MOPS meeting becomes a vital part of a mom’s overall experience with MOPS and we do everything we can to provide the opportunity for her to grow as a woman, mom and leader. We show her the love of Jesus through our actions and conversations, and how we live out our own mom journey. Meeting together is a way to demonstrate to moms that they belong with you, can be who they are with you and can grow with you. Some moms come to our meetings having no idea what they need, but what they discover about themselves through friendship, teaching and conversation is life-changing and may be the very thing that keeps them coming back and connected to MOPS.
When moms leave your meeting, are they excited about coming back to the next one?
I kept coming back to that MOPS group for more than five years. I came because they made me feel as if I was OK there, flaws and all. I found other moms who struggled with the same issues that I did. I learned that relationships were important and allowing others to see my imperfections was where we found common ground. I learned to trust God fully, knowing he had given my children to me on purpose and that I was exactly who they needed. MOPS helped me understand more about who God was and who I was.
It would have been easy to stay home that day. Being pregnant and lugging a toddler around was no easy feat, but that day something inside of me said, “Go.”
As Leaders, we have the opportunity to learn about the moms in our groups, uncover the things that touch their hearts and move them to action. At MOPS, we get to create an experience that helps moms uncover their passions and encourage boldness that is transformative and life-changing. Let your MOPS group be the place a mom finds friendship, honest conversation and truth – a place that compels her to say, “I want to know more, be more and do more for my family and the world.”
Melodi Leih lives in San Diego, California and has been married to Mike for 28 years. They have three beautiful children and one awesome son–in-law. She loves music, laughter, reading and being with people. Melodi is Regional Volunteer Manager for MOPS International and works to equip and develop the Volunteer Team.